One of our young cows, #25, has been up in the front lot for a while because we wanted to keep an eye on her. Some of our cows were suffering from fescue toxicosis this fall, but she was the worst. She was limping a lot, so we locked her up the in the front with the yearling calves so she wouldn't have to walk as far for food and water. We knew there was a chance that she was pregnant, but honestly we hadn't found the time to preg check the cows this summer.
We calve at two times - spring and fall. The only reason we do it this way in simple because that how we've always done it, and that's how the father-in-law does it. Technically it would be easier with just 20 cows to only calve once a year, but we like being able to sell calves and have income twice a year and find the bull stays happier when he gets to visit the cows more than once per year too. Our fall calving is in August/September and our spring calving is in March/April. So even if #25 was pregnant, we weren't expecting her to calve until much closer to March.
Then we found this - on January 28th.
|This is the picture he sent me after checking cows Monday morning.|
It was possible that she could have just calved really early - perhaps the bull had bred her right away since she didn't have a calf on her at the time (last time she had this calf). But even in that circumstance, this calf would be really early, and he didn't look like a premie at all - he was decent size.
Then, a light bulb went on. See those white markings on his face? He has that big white splotch, dimple markings, and white on his belly as well. Only problem is our bull is full-blood Black Angus. The cow this guy came from is a pure black cow too, mostly Angus. Although it's not unheard of for the calf to have white marking given the chance that the cow might not be purebred, it's not very likely.
Here's the light bulb part - last May/June the neighbors young Hereford bull jumped the fence and spent a day with our cows. You do the math - January minus nine months... yup, sounds about right. Looks like we had a free breeding service. Since he was only in for a day or less, I honestly hadn't even considered that he might have bred one of our cows, especially since they were all either pregnant to calve in the fall, or still had very young calves (our bull doesn't go in until July).
While it wasn't in the plan, he is mighty cute, so I won't complain. We were a little worried on how this cow would mother since we took her first calf right after it was born, but she's doing a good job, and that's something to be thankful for.
Anyone else ever have a little unplanned surprise, courtesy of the neighbor's bull?